Depending on where you’re located, you could be on your last steps to be ready for the first weekend of turkey hunting. Here in Virginia, we have one more weekend for open season, but I know many states have started and are about to start, like California and Texas.
For many of us that are in our final steps of preparation, zeroing your shotgun is a must, especially if you put an optic on for the first time.
Most of us have to go to public gun ranges to zero our shotguns and pistols, so it’s important to stay mobile and practical. For example, you can bring a massive set of steel plates to a public range, but you have to carry it all with you. When shooting with a shotgun, there’s really no need to shoot steel if you’re trying to pattern your spread for a specific ammo brand.
I use the Caldwell Ultimate Target Stand because it’s the most durable, versatile, affordable, and practical.
Best Shooting Targets for Shotguns?
There are many types of targets you can use, from steel, foam, or paper. There is also a term the gun industry uses called reactive targets to assist in bullet hit marks on paper, or pop-up steel targets. For the sake of pattern analysis, I always use reactive paper shooting targets when I prepare for turkey season. Many companies make shooting targets, but my favorite is the Birchwood Casey 12"x18" Turkey target or the Caldwell Orange Peel Turkey Target.
Another thing to consider when choosing the proper target is to avoid paper targets meant for pistols and rifles, such as this Splatterburst target. A shotgun splatter will be a waste of money on those targets and not get you any closer to zero in.
The reason I like the Caldwell Orange Peel shooting targets is the strong adhesive on the back and the brightness of the orange target. When I’m zeroing in my shotgun pattern at 30 yards, I can see exactly where my spread hit on the target for instant feedback.
I wish it came with a couple more sheets, but 5 total sheets should be more than enough for you to check your spread with multiple shells. I typically use all 5 sheets when I zero with my 2 types of test ammo.
After you choose your targets, it’s important to choose a target shooting stand that works well with paper targets. I’ve tried many times to use homemade stands at public ranges or prop my target against a rock to keep it from falling. I always ended up looking like a fool and not getting the quality of practice that I wanted to get.
As I looked into target stands for shooting, I saw the Caldwell Ultimate Target Stand for less than $20.00 on Amazon and decided that it had to be better than what I was doing and bought it last year.
A target stand needs to be lightweight, easy to use, and be able to stay standing after bullets fly past. I really like the foot assist to use your body weight to press the target stand into the ground.
How Do I Setup the Caldwell Ultimate Target Stand?
Separate everything from the box and remove the black rubber stoppers on the bottom of the target stand.
2. Place your foot into the slot to drive the stakes into the ground to secure your target stand.
3. Use the metal arms to lock into place to hold the target backer.
4. Place the Backers into the arms slot and attach the white clips to the top to secure your target. Most paper targets come with an adhesive, but it’s still good to use the white clips if it’s a windy day.
Are There Other Ways to Use the Ultimate Target Stand?
There are multiple ways to use this target stand by adding multiple targets to the large backer or using 2 target stands to create a shooting bench. The stand weighs less than .60 lbs and is easy to transport and set up. I’ve used this stand like a bench shooting round with bottles and large targets for plinking.
The stand stays secure inside the ground with no issues of the stand falling over on the range or sliding out of the holes from the ground stakes.
Where Can I Buy The Caldwell Ultimate Target Stand?
Public ranges normally have a set of rules posted at the entrance to keep everyone on the same page. Most of the ranges I go here in Virginia have a 30 minute firing period with a 5-10 minute setup and range cleanup period.
Because of the crowded nature of most public ranges, it drastically helps me save time and energy to use the Caldwell Ultimate Target Stand. By using the reactive paper target, such as the Orange Peel Turkey targets from Caldwell, I’m able to see instantaneous results, so I don’t have to step onto the range as often. I take all of 45 seconds to set up my target and ensure everything is in order to shoot. Very few target stands offer the quickness, ease of setup, and takedown as the Ultimate Target Stand from Caldwell.
Best of all, the Caldwell target stand is under $20.00 for the stand and under $10 for the support backers that you need to use the stand. You can really set up an exceptional range with 2 or 3 of the target stands spread across your field of vision. If you’re ready to move on from makeshift target stands with clothes hangers and PVC pipe, spend $20 and buy the Caldwell Ultimate Target Stand, you won’t be disappointed, I promise!